EXCLUSIVE: Mark Duplass rounds out four leads in Togetherness, HBO’s single-camera comedy pilot written, directed and executive produced by Duplass and his brother Jay Duplass. Mark Duplass, who is a known actor, originally was not attached to star in the project as he is pretty busy in front of the camera in TV. He stars on FX’s comedy The League and recurs on Fox’s The Mindy Project. Now he is taking on a lead in Togetherness as a regular while continuing on The League. Togetherness, which stars Amanda Peet, Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey and Steve Zissis, follows two couples living under the same roof who struggle to keep their relationships alive while pursuing their individual dreams. The foursome consists of Tina Morris (Peet) who relocates from Houston to Los Angeles and moves in with her sister Michelle Pierson (Lynskey) and her husband Brett (Duplass). Also moving in with the Piersons is Brett’s friend Alex (Zissis), a struggling, over-the-hill actor. The health food obsessive Brett is successful in business, and on the surface, his peculiar brand of enthusiasm has gotten him a picture-perfect life: a sweet wife, a solid job, two healthy kids. But under that surface, Brett has some problems in both his personal and professional lives. With Duplass’ casting both male leads of the show are creative auspices on the project as Zissis has been helping with the story. On the film side, Mark Duplass, repped by ICM Partners, recently signed on to star opposite Melissa McCarthy in her starring vehicle Tammy for New Line. He recently wrapped Open Road’s JFK drama Parkland and the Universal-Blumhouse horror Mercy, based on a Stephen King short story. He also stars in, produced, and co-wrote the upcoming Peachfuzz for Blumhouse and is starring in and exec producing the indie The One I Love
EXCLUSIVE: The new indie film is called The One I Love, which will be directed by Charlie McDowell from a script by Justin Lader and will star Mad Men‘s …
Berlin: K5 To Start Sales On Jennifer Aniston, Mark Duplass, Ben Kingsley Romantic Comedy ‘Convention’
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s another package that’s come together just ahead of the EFM. K5 International will start sales and CAA and ICM Partners will co-rep North American rights in Berlin on Convention, the second feature from A Many Splintered Thing director Justin Reardon. Jennifer Aniston, Mark Duplass and Ben Kingsley are attached to star in the romantic comedy that shoots this summer. A Charlie Kaufman-esque mind-bender, the premise finds mild-mannered Paul (Duplass) and his feisty sister Abby (Aniston) setting out to change the box storage world with Paul’s invention of the 5-sided box. Kingsley plays a maniacal box magnate who seeks to thwart Paul and Abby’s success. Meanwhile, the invention also risks ripping a giant hole in the fabric of the universe. When Paul realizes the damage he’s causing, he races against time to put the galaxy back in order and save the girl of his dreams.
Reardon is best known as the co-creator and art director for Budweiser’s Wassup! and Howyadoin’ campaigns. He’s just finished production on his feature debut, A Many Splintered Thing, with Chris Evans, Michelle Monaghan, Giovanni Ribisi, Topher Grace and Luke Wilson. Reardon will shoot Convention in the summer from a script by Christopher Painter who’s done TV work on toons like The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and Tom And Jerry Tales. Paul Schiff (Rushmore) and Tai Duncan (Red Machine, The Air I Breathe) are producing.
K5 Partners Oliver Simon and Daniel Baur say, “We have an absolute dream cast for this dream comedy concept. It brings to mind films like Being John Malkovich, and Eternal Sunshine, and in Justin Reardon we have a wildly talented and totally visionary director.”
EXCLUSIVE: Mark Duplass continues to branch out as an actor beyond his DIY indie roots with two new projects, even as he and brother Jay keep building their joint TV and film portfolio. The Safety Not Guaranteed star has signed on for Universal and Blumhouse‘s Mercy, a fantasy-horror project based on a short from Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew collection that stars Dylan McDermott, Frances O’Connor, Chandler Riggs, Joel Courtney, Shirley Knight and Chris Browning. Peter Cornwell (A Haunting In Connecticut) is directing, with Jason Blum, McG, and Wonderland Sound and Vision’s Mary Viola producing. Matt Greenberg wrote the script from King’s short story Gramma, about two young boys who visit their grandmother and discover she’s a witch.
HBO has given the green light to Togetherness, a single-camera comedy pilot written, directed and executive produced by brothers Mark and Jay Duplass. It follows two couples living under the same roof who struggle to keep their relationships alive while pursuing their individual dreams. I hear filming is eyed to begin in April, with no plans for Mark, who is also an actor, to star. Duplass Brothers Prods’ Stephanie Langhoff co-executive produces the project, which indie filmmakers the Duplass brothers wrote on spec.
Found-footage horror specialist Blumhouse has acquired Peachfuzz from producers Mark and Jay Duplass and directed by first-timer Patrick Brice. The plot is mostly under wraps but follows a man who answers a Craigslist ad with unexpected results; Mark Duplass co-wrote the script and also stars. The deal closed yesterday at Sundance ahead of the film festival that starts today. The pic was not ready in time for the fest lineup, so the filmmakers offered up a poster and some scenes for buyers. Blumhouse jumped on it, and now it can be finished, with the Universal-based production company set to partner and collaborate with the brothers on the film and its distribution and marketing. The deal was negotiated by Submarine’s Josh Braun, who will serve as an executive producer.
Jay and Mark Duplass have their roots firmly planted in the indie world going back to their 2005 debut The Puffy Chair at the Sundance Film Festival. The brothers have since taken on projects that include stars (and Mark Duplass has become quite the ubiquitous actor himself), but their latest film The Do-Deca-Pentathlon yearns back to their earlier work. Zeitgeist Films’ documentary China Heavyweight is the third by a filmmaking group that has been set in China, though it’s hoping it will be the first to be seen in the giant country. Martin Donovan wrote, directed and stars in his latest project Collaborator, which he tapped into Canadian funding to make, while Strand Releasing found Crazy Eyes ahead of its SXSW Film Festival debut, quickly nabbing the title they hope will appeal to the hipster crowd.
Specialty releases can clean up at the box office if they’re seen as serious awards contenders, but the majority of limited rollouts never make it to the awards big leagues in a given year. Two of this week’s new specialty openers are admittedly not in play for any golden statuettes according to their insiders (unless this is some sort of reverse-psychology campaign?). First off, Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener starrer Peace, Love & Misunderstanding will open in 25 cities this weekend. Its high-profile stars along with some now high-profile newcomers might be just the thing for moviegoers looking for a summer escape. China Lion’s Double Trouble will have a smaller indie platform release, hoping to cash in on the first film of Hong Kong star Jackie Chan’s son, Jaycee. Also hitting screens is FilmDistrict’s Safety Not Guaranteed, which concerns a magazine crew that sets out in search of the person who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time-travel. Then there’s Daryl Wein’s Lola Versus with star Greta Gerwig courtesy of Fox Searchlight and doc Paul Williams Still Alive is taking its story about the Oscar and Grammy award-winning star via a more DIY approach.
St. Patrick’s Day weekend proved lucky for the Dardenne brothers’ U.S. debut of The Kid With A Bike. IFC Films opened the Belgian filmmakers’ picture in 3 locations with a robust $16,300 per screen. SXSW ’11 awards-winner Natural Selection opened at the Angelika in NYC with a decent $9,201. The Duplass Bros’ Jeff Who Lives At Home bowed in 254 theaters, with a modest $3,307 average.
Co-director Mark Duplass told Deadline that their distributor Paramount Vantage spent very little on the release’s P&A debut and they hoped the film’s cast would attract audiences despite the modest marketing dollars. They remain hopeful for the weeks ahead. “We found the gamble to be good and bad,” said Duplass. “Turns out awareness of the film was low going into the weekend, but that the people who did discover the film are spreading incredibly strong word-of-mouth as evidenced by the uptick throughout the weekend. We plan to expand next weekend with a more aggressive P&A spend as well.”
The main box office story was Sony’s 21 Jump Street‘s $35 million bow, but Lionsgate’s Spanish-language Will Farrell vehicle Casa De Mi Padre had an impressive rollout for what otherwise amounted to a specialty release.
Among week 2 specialty holdovers, Roadside Attractions added 266 theaters for Friends With Kids, averaging a decent $2,344, a 26% decline from its first weekend. Lasse Hallstrom’s Salmon Fishing In The Yemen was perhaps the weekend’s most solid holdover, adding 44 screens, averaging a solid $7,339, a 45% drop from the film’s bow in 18 locations.
1. The Kid With A Bike (IFC Films) New [3 Theaters] Weekend $48K, Per Screen Average $16,300
2. Jeff Who Lives At Home (Paramount Vantage) NEW [254 Theaters] Weekend $840K, Per Screen Average $3,307
3. Natural Selection (The Cinema Guild) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $9,201
4. Detachment (Tribeca Film) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $11,050, Per Screen Average $5,525
5. Seeking Justice (Anchor Bay) NEW [231 Theaters] Weekend $260K, Per Screen Average $1,126
Specialty Box Office: ‘Detachment,’ ‘Jeff Who Lives At Home,’ ‘The Kid With A Bike,’ ‘Natural Selection,’ ‘The Understudy’
Most indie films struggle financially in the production stage, but the challenges don’t stop when it’s finally time to head into release. Good word of mouth, of course, can be a holy grail in terms of box office for these films, including this week’s spotlight of specialty releases. IFC Films hit the festival circuit with their Belgian feature The Kid With A Bike by auteurs the Dardenne brothers. Robbie Pickering is opening his multiple SXSW ’11 winner Natural Selection, while Tribeca Film is rolling out Detachment. Indie filmmakers the Duplass brothers had a bit more in terms of resources for Jeff Who Lives At Home, though they used their DIY roots to keep costs low, while British filmmakers David Conolly and Hannah Davis sold their home when unexpected expenses came their way on The Understudy.
Directors: Tony Kaye
Writer: Carl Lund
Cast: Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks, Marcia Gay Harden
Distributor: Tribeca Film
Director Tony Kaye admits a bit of apprehension about how his film Detachment may be perceived in the U.S. Featuring American stars Adrien Brody and Marcia Gay Harden, the film revolves around a substitute teacher who goes to class and discovers a connection to students and teachers with his latest assignment. “There are a lot of people who think it’s a movie about teachers and schools but it’s not,” Kaye told Deadline. “People going in thinking it is will be unhappy about it. Like Star Wars this is not about robots that fight each other. The tricky thing with Detachment is that if you’re going to make a movie about a substitute teacher in an ailing school one would think that’s what the film is about.” What Kaye did make, he explained, is a film about “humanity and people in difficult situations” and how they choose to cope, though without judgment. Kaye added that performance is central to the film, which he said isn’t an “every day occurrence” today and was about getting “great people” to play as many of the roles as possible.
Jason Segel, Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon star in Jeff, Who Lives At Home. In the basement. Then his mother sends him on a simple errand that might end up changing his life along the way. From Jay and Mark Duplass, who gave us another memorable character, Cyrus. From Paramount …
EXCLUSIVE: The 19th annual Hamptons International Film Festival has set the silent film sensation The Artist to be the closing-night film premiere on Oct. 16 and the Drake Doremus-directed drama Like Crazy to be the Centerpiece Film screening Oct. 15. That film won the Grand Jury Prize at 2011 Sundance, where it was acquired by Paramount and Indian Paintbrush.
The festival will honor its star, Anton Yelchin, as one of this year’s Breakthrough Performers. Other emerging stars will be added as the festival gets closer. HIFF already announced that its opening film will be the Jay and Mark Duplass-directed Jeff Who Lives at Home. The Michel Hazanavicius-directed The Artist, acquired by The Weinstein Company on the eve of Cannes, won Best Actor honors at the festival for Jean Dujardin, who plays a silent-movie superstar at the advent of talking pictures, a development that will ruin his career.
Paramount Vantage will give a platform release to Jay and Mark Duplass’ Jeff Who Lives at Home on March 2, 2012, the studio said today. The comedy stars Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon and just was slated for a Special Presentation slot at September’s Toronto Film Festival, …